Based in Singapore, startup Zimplistic has developed Rotimatic, a smart, fully automated flatbread-making device that can prepare freshly baked rotis in less than a minute. Zimplistic raised more than $11.5 million during a startup-funding round in July 2015, after raising $5 million the year before. Today, the Zimplistic team has grown to more than 120 employees.
Our homes are getting “smarter.” Every day, devices from door locks to light switches and kitchen appliances are being connected to the Internet. Zimplistic wanted to capitalize on the growing “smart” trend in people’s kitchens. The company developed Rotimatic, a smart device that measures, mixes, kneads, flattens, cooks, and puffs rotis—flatbreads made from stoneground flour, which are traditionally popular in India, Pakistan, and parts of Southeast Asia. Rishi Israni, co-founder and chief executive officer of Zimplistic, says, “The popularity of rotis today is worldwide. We built our Rotimatic robot so consumers could have the convenience of fresh rotis whenever they wanted them.”
Because Rotimatic is a connected device—meaning permanently ‘hooked up’ to the Internet—consumers gain several advantages. Zimplistic can monitor the performance of the machines, making changes to its software if errors occur. Crucially, Zimplistic can also gather data on customer usage and feed that information into design updates. The connectivity also enables Zimplistic to roll out new software quickly and easily to all machines at the same time.
But before that could happen, Zimplistic needed an IT infrastructure that could handle the constant stream of data coming in and going out to the Rotimatic devices. Israni says, “Like any new company, we didn’t have the resources to build an on-premises infrastructure that could manage as well as process and store the quantities of data that we expected through Rotimatic. We needed to build our infrastructure on the cloud, where we could start small and grow big.”
Zimplistic looked at the cloud-computing offerings of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform. It focused on Internet of Things (IoT) services since IoT would enable Zimplistic to collect data from sensors built into the Rotimatic devices and send out software updates. Says Israni, “When we looked at AWS IoT services and the AWS Cloud, we thought AWS provided a very open cloud platform, so we could develop in any software language we chose. Furthermore, we already had a good relationship with AWS, whose services were behind our Rotimatic website. Therefore, we felt we’d receive the support we needed to get our IT infrastructure off the ground.”
Zimplistic began designing its IT infrastructure in-house. “At an early stage in our development, AWS came in to give us advice,” says Israni. “The team ensured that we followed AWS IoT best practices. As a result, we kept our costs down and maximized the performance of our IT.”
The AWS IT infrastructure was in place when Rotimatic launched in 2017. A key AWS service supporting Rotimatic is AWS IoT Core, which enables data traffic to pass securely and reliably from Zimplistic’s cloud applications to the Rotimatic devices and from the devices to the cloud applications. The applications run on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. The company takes advantage of AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service, to run code in response to events and processes incoming data from the devices. That data is initially held in Amazon DynamoDB, a NoSQL database service. The data coming from the Rotimatics is then moved into Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), where it is further processed to show Rotimatic usage patterns. Zimplistic uses Amazon CloudWatch to monitor all AWS services running as part of the infrastructure. Israni says, “Since launch, we have continued to develop our AWS infrastructure. We have regular meetings with AWS to see if we can further optimize our AWS services.”
Zimplistic has sold more than 20,000 Rotimatics worldwide in less than 12 months. Owners get the convenience of a smart device that repairs itself if an error occurs and is being constantly improved. Israni says, “We’ve made more than $20 million in sales revenues, and our devices have made more than 10 million flatbreads since we launched—meaning customers are using their Rotimatics an average of three to four times a week.” He adds, “What’s clear is the market for smart devices in the home is flourishing, and AWS IoT services are helping us be part of that development by supporting our Rotimatic flatbread-making robot.”
The success of the Rotimatic is driven by the IoT capabilities of the AWS infrastructure, which ensures Zimplistic can respond to performance alerts from any one of the devices in the field and remotely troubleshoot. “We’re able to understand our customers better,” says Israni. “We can gather data on usage patterns and gauge feedback and satisfaction levels. We can also distinguish the favorite recipe on our Rotimatics. With this kind of information, we can evolve our product with updates—right down to new recipes we send out to the device—that we know will add value to our customers.”
At present, the AWS infrastructure—which is highly reliable, according to Israni—is processing more than 84 million data packets a day from Rotimatics worldwide. If the infrastructure were on-premises, says Israni, Zimplistic would have needed an IT infrastructure team to ensure there were no problems processing the constant flow of data. However, because it is using AWS, the company avoids that expense. Israni explains, “We don’t need costly IT administrators to manage our IT. Our software team can add more AWS resources when they are needed, and, in the meantime, they can focus on building great software.”
According to Israni, the pay-as-you-grow model for AWS meets his business needs. “We’re only paying for the AWS cloud-computing resources we consume. Hence, our IT costs are closely aligned with our business growth, and we don’t face the expense of hardware procurement or deployment.”
Learn more about Internet of Things (IoT).